As a historian I always want to start in the beginning. That is what we do and that is how we think. As a philosopher I start at the beginning, at the foundations of what is true and what is real.
But one can not really begin; one can only start. Like with Eve, when she started to think she considered two stories, one from Adam and one from the Serpent.
Eve did not have infinite knowledge to “know” which story was true.
Eve was not outside the system and so could not “see” the big picture.
Eve was inside the system lacking a God’s Eye perspective.
We are no different.
So how to we begin? We begin, like Eve, with a story. Yet before we begin with a story, we have been given a language. (So we are doubly dependent, first for a language, and second for a story).
Language pre-dates the intellect — it precedes logic, rationality and discourse. From words emerge concepts that can be manipulated in the mind. Longing, sorrow, desire, and love cannot be approached rationally unless they are objectified with a word. Thus poetry and song, prose, stanza and stories not only sing to our hearts, but they create stories with which we can begin to know our world.
No one was there at the beginning. No one was there to say “this is how it all happened.” We can only believe a story we are told, whether it is this Evolution or Creation. Like Eve, we have more than one story to contend with. And like Eve, we can’t know which is true.
And so that’s how I start thinking buy thinking process. Ultimately, this validates what one could call faith, or presuppositions. It validates it because there is no alternative to presuppositional thinking. If you can’t grasp this regarding competing storylines, then understand that whatever language one speaks describes the very boundaries of one’s potential thoughts and our language is not infinite.
There is a creation myth that says a long long time ago everything came into existence out of nothing. If they push it further back, they imagine (and it is an imagination) that the current universe bounced out of some previous universe. One imploded and the current exploded like a giant trampoline that bounces down, then up, and then down, and up in perhaps an endless cycle.nnAll this, of course, just pushes back the idea of “where did it come from?” It is a way of avoiding that question.
This story is not “provable” because we were not there and time (as we conceive it) runs only forward. It’s challenging — intellectually — given that we lack omniscience to imagine where we came from. So we weave stories of origins.
Atheists (practical atheists, including those who attend church) insist that by chance over time we “evolved.” This is the “Big E” evolution storyline — setting aside whether it is true or not. (This is different from the “little e” evolution in which genetic diversity already resides with what was created. Thus, children may be taller and smarter than their ancestors — but did they Evolve? Or was this just an expression of the potential that was already present — like Darwin’s finches, some of whom had different beaks that birds from another area? That’s not Evolution. That’s genetic diversity — nothing new was created — greater design and sophistication was not added. If anything, over time, the genetic code degrades unless something new is added — by design and intervention or perhaps a better diet. This is not the Big E evolution which posits an origin based on random chance given eons of time. There is nothing logical about Big E Evolution — over time chaos does not emerge into self-replicating, intelligent, intricately designed living beings who dream and see and hope and suffer and have a conscience — that storyline is a belief system — a faith.)
I posit what I’ve been told — which is not different than Atheists believing what they were told. I posit a story of Creation. I wasn’t there — I don’t “know” in an omniscient sort of way. And neither does the Atheist. We stand on different islands, but in the same ocean — we cannot know what is over the horizon.
So to suggest that the Story of Evolution (Atheism) relies less on faith than the Story of Creation is an assertion on faith and dogma. Of course the story of Evolution is based on faith — who was there to see it?
Love, life, dreams, visions, hope, song, beauty, our soul — all are more than atoms bouncing off other atoms. In the desire of natural scientists to reduce the world to pure physicality — scientific materialism — we have lost to much — foremost is the ability to offer an internally consistent story of humanity: if we are but products of Time and Chance with no more meaning that that of random atoms vibrating through space, for what then does the scientific materialist (the Marxist) care of human rights or the flow of history or the well-being of the poor? Compassion is illogical in a scientific-materialistic world; it must be reduced to some sort of self-preservation (“I’ll help them because I was someone to help me”). There is no room in that world for self-less love. It is a world that denies Justice — what is justice if we are random facts of time and chance?
I don’t reject the story of Evolution for that — although those are good reasons to reject it. I find it illogical that all this can be here without design or purpose given the world I observe and the history (pagan history) that I’ve studied. The more I contemplate the story of Evolution the more I see dogma embedded in that story — dogmas which dare not be challenged; Evolution is a religious icon — those who challenge it are heretics and unbelievers, enemies of the faith, in need of a re-education camp at best.
Only our atheistic West has rejected the Gods — that is a very cultural-centric understanding of who we are. Are we really so hubristic so believe that wisdom was invented in the last 250 years since the ideas of the French Revolution and Karl Marx? These are stories — stories that have been woven and passed on by a Religion called Atheism, a religion that has capture the universities, a religion whose priests and prophets are the professors (those tho profess what they believe) in the university.
Like Eve, I can’t go back to the beginning. I take what I’ve been told (not unlike the Atheists) and work within that narrative.
The storyline of Evolution provides a philosophical starting point for independence from God. If God does not exists — if our existence can be explained in a not-God way — then we are free of rules and laws. And we are free from the Judgment Day.
That is the philosophical benefit (if it can be put in such terms) of atheism. If God is dead . . . there is no Judgment Day, the strong survive and one may do as they would.
This would be great story from the Devil — “god’s not there, folks. Do what you want.”
And in the long run, because men are weak and fragile and largely ignorant, the devil wins because he who controls the story . . . Controls.
We did not accidentally happen— we were created. This is where my intellectual story begins. This is were my history begins. This is were my meaning begins.
Those with a different creation myth: consider that it is but a myth — it is your dogma and faith.
Like Adam to Eve, I cannot prove it to you. Because, like Adam and Eve, I (and we) are within the larger narrative of the Universe and Time — we cannot be outside of it to see it objectively. Those who intellectually reside within the Storyline of Evolution are equally dependent upon a narrative — having neither been there nor seen that.
Ever watch National Geographic and hear them talk about the wonders of the Universe and the Big Bang and miracle of Life? These are all but placeholders for the idea of creation. Miracles and wonders and magic (life from non-life, something from nothing, order and beauty from chaos) are attributed to words that approach the idea of creation because they don’t know how else to explain our universe. They aren’t sure what to say. So they weave the story without ever getting to the heart of it.
And so my story is this: In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.